Welcome to Kinema Club

Welcome to the website of Kinema Club, a long-standing, international but informal group devoted to the study of Japanese moving image media. Kinema Club was started precisely to share knowledge about Japanese cinema, so this site serves both to introduce our activities, such as the KineJapan mailing list and our conferences and workshops, as well promote information and thinking about films, research, bibliography, and education.


To Know or Not to Know

The romantic pretensions of Hollywood to the contrary, love is a very messy business. After all, the other person is a completely separate being, whose independent thoughts, feelings, and experiences cannot be accessed immediately through ESP, whose very actions must always be interpreted through the unreliable filter of subjective impressions. One wonders if we... Read more

Jubaku (Spellbound)

Curse of the Salaryman

Salaryman movies have been one of the staples of Japanese film fare ever since these white-collar employees became the mythical center of both the economy and society of Japan. Yet these films have rarely been the kind of unabashed celebration of their heroes that one finds in, say, the treatment of the cowboy in many U.S. Westerns. The image of the salary man... Read more


A Drift Between Human, Subhuman

Humanity has built great cities and flown to the moon, but to Tsukamoto Shinya it remains as animalistic as ever. His cult classic The Iron Man (“Tetsuo,” 1989), featuring characters who slowly devolve (evolve?) into grotesque metallic beasts, presented the industrial... Read more


Film as Critique Is a Real Fake

First a head is lopped off, then a scantily clad beauty gets sliced in two, and finally everything ends in a dance of blood and knives. It is de rigeur for a horror flick and clearly as fake as it can be. Did you ever meet someone who really thought Janet Leigh was stabbed to death in Psycho?

Horror films, however, maintain their long-... Read more

Night Without Angels

The Hellish Loneliness of Living in the Big City

Ever since its towering spires began to blot out the sky, the modern city has been metaphorically tied to hell. From Hell’s Kitchen in New York to the shadowy infernos of film noir, the city has come to represent in name and image the depths to which humanity can sink.

The title of Ryuichi Hiroki’s new film, Night... Read more

Shady Grove*

Another Ambiguous Aoyama Take on Youth Studies

It is commonplace to mourn the inability of contemporary youth to communicate. Lost in their virtual realities of video games and cellular phones, they seem unable to handle people of flesh and blood–other than perhaps through random violence. It is as if they cannot establish contact because they don’t even acknowledge the... Read more

Adrenaline Drive*

Laughing as the World Turns UPSIDE DOWN

When a nicely-dressed woman trips over a rock and tumbles down a steep slope in real life, you usually call for the paramedics, not stand there and laugh. Movie comedy, however, makes you do the opposite. That’s the sinister, almost sadistic side to humor that allows the better comedy directors to go beyond just the laughs to explore the... Read more


Unexpected Takeshi - as Expected

Changing one’s style from film to film may not necessarily be the sign of a cinematic master, but it certainly suggests an adventuresome soul.

When Kitano Takeshi (also known as Beat Takeshi) won the 1997 Venice Film Festival with Hana-... Read more

After Life*

Memories … of the Way We Were

How far back can you remember? For me, it’s hard to tell. Memories of my early childhood are such a mix of recollections, family photos, and stories that I can’t always tell which are the real memories and which are not. This question is probably even more difficult to answer for today’s children, videotaped from day one until... Read more

Let the Shadow Warrior Speak

History 592-002

Fall, 1998; T and Th, 8:30-10:00am

3435 Mason Hall

Hitomi Tonomura, tomitono@umich.edu

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